Edinburgh Arts
Walking on the Celtic Trail

Investigation by Déborah Laks


In 1971, Richard Demarco, a Scottish gallery director and teacher who was virtually unknown outside his country, embarks on a university tour along the American West Coast. He has brought along images of Edinburgh and, through presentations in his epic accent, explains his summer school project to American students. More than just a backdrop, the city of Edinburgh and Scotland become entirely unique actors in the adventure. Amidst their wild landscapes, students come into contact with nature while discovering the vestiges of ancient Celtic and Neolithic culture. The idea is to experience, for several weeks, the country’s spiritual and artistic energies, tracking their ancient and contemporary manifestations, and translating them into artworks that will be exhibited during the Edinburgh Festival. The success is undeniable: Demarco appeals to the passion of this American youth for travelling abroad, he emphasizes the living folklore and depicts Scotland as a place where the past continues to thrive and current ways of life are infused with culture and spirituality. In his presentations, he depicts a country where New Age meets contemporary art, where you can converse in English with faeries and goddesses.

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